Thursday, November 30, 2006

We're hosting an invitational swim meet on Saturday.

We don't get to swim outdoors in our December swim meet like we did in August.
Swimming through the lilly pads.

Bad technique in the pads, with Grants head high. Grant says he is standing on the murky bottom in this photo.

I'm going to bring my voice recorder and try to get swimmer interviews and make up a podcast for the kids. More news later. Swimming has "pads." The touch pads are at the end of the lane(s) for the electronic timing in a swim pool. They are often called, "touch pads." Swimming in a lake brings a different set of 'pad' to the swimmer, 'lilly pads.' When they rub against your skin, they can evoke a shout, as the video reveals.



Watch a short video of the lilly pad swimmers on Rauterkus.blip.tv.

The Libertarian Party of Pittsburgh Meetup Group (Pittsburgh, PA) - Meetup.com

The Libertarian Party of Pittsburgh Meetup Group (Pittsburgh, PA) - Meetup.com Our next Meetup: Holiday Party at John Harvard's in Monroeville

Join us for the Libertarian annual Holiday Party! All are welcome!
Hope to see some Running Mates there.

Music and Drama tidbit

Anne Feeney wrote in her newsletter, in part:
On Monday night, Dec 4th, my friend Jerry Starr debuts his new play, BURIED: the story of the Sago Mine Disaster in a standing-room-only reading at Pittsburgh Playwrights. Directed by the amazing Marci Wood, the play features an all-star cast and music by me and Sue Powers. The reading will be filmed in the hope of finding funding for full-scale productions in 2007.
Break a leg!

College Football Poll Bowl Games

Pitt is not slated to attend a Football Bowl Game at the end of this season, so says this site.
College Football Poll Bowl Games International Bowl, Toronto, Canada $750,000 1/6/07 Noon
ESPN-2, TSN MAC #2 or #3 vs. Big East #4 or #5 Western Michigan vs. Rutgers
This is the first year of the International Bowl, to be played in Canada on January 6 at noon. Pitt had hopes to get an invite there. But, it looks like a long shot now.

Ohio University football and OU Alumni Tailgate

The Ohio Univeristy Bobcats are playing for the MAC Championship on ESPN tonight at 7:30 pm.

Ohio U plays Central Michigan. And, OU footballers accepted an invitation to play in the GMAC Bowl on January 7th. This is the first bowl game for the Bobcats since 1968.
On December 7th, the OU alumni are holding a tailgate before the Steelers Browns game from 5 - 8 pm. At the tailgate we will have various types of food, drinks, and giveaways. The tailgate will be held in Red Lot Clark East, beside the Clark Building. Look for the Ohio Bobcats flag to find the tailgate. If you are interested in attending, please RSVP by November 30th and send a check for $15.00 to:

Colleen Doughty
c/o OUAA Pittsburgh Chapter
5605 Pavillion Court
Wexford, PA 15090

Please make checks out to OUAA Pittsburgh Chapter. In addition, please bring your ID so that I can give wristband to individuals that are over 21. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at colleenedoughty@aol.com. Please join us and invite your friends!

Need 10 (or more) folks to email me to assist with a new e-forum hosted by international / national expert

Steven Clift, founder of E-Democracy.Org, is a net advocate that I've followed for years. He does fantastic work. Steve has been around the block and around the net on issues and with plenty of tech-based tools and thoughts.

We now need a dozen or so from Pittsburgh -- and from Allegheny County too -- to email me, Mark -at- Rauterkus -dot- com, so we can make a steering group and form a new online community forum. Steven Cliff's associates provide the infrastructure and leadership.

They've got a nice tech partner in New Zealand and a forum there. They've done great things in Minnesota, and I've lurked and participated there too.

Now, they are trying to roll this out in various markets in the country. Others have wanted to lift-off in various cities and Pittsburgh should ride this wave with our own community forum too.

Excellent. Any more takers?

The first step is to create a steering committee with at five members. The more diverse politically, gender-wise, etc. the better. If you can get some representation from community institutions even better, particularly on larger steering groups.

Once you have a small steering team, then we'll set you up with a place-team@ group so you can work on your charter - forum purpose statement and any special rules above our common rules framework. Circulating a draft around the community helps build buy in and interest.

As Carol said, then you need to select a volunteer forum manager.

Then the forum is created and together we put lots of energy into recruitment before the forum opens for posting. Our built-to-last model, requires 100 member to launch. That might seem like a lot or to some too little. The key benefit is it creates a sense of community - I was there from the beginning - ownership. It also forces you to be strategic in your outreach!

So one step at time, create a short e-mail letting people know that you plan to start a local Issues Forum if other join you in the effort. Ask them to e-mail you if they are interested in the idea or might participate. Perhaps what they might want to see discussed. Then in your reply ask them if they have any objection to being part of the steering committee. Feel free to share a draft if you like - make it short and
snappy.

When you think you have enough interest, come back and we can discuss steering committee first steps (like a meeting) and charters. Let's plan to reconnect in two weeks when you have the base of your steering committee recruited. Sound good?

Cheers, Steven Clift. E-Democracy.Org
So, I need to email Steven and provide him with a list of names and email contacts from folks who want to be on this new venture's steering committee.

Please consider this request, if you can use email. And, most of all, we need to get folks from all parts of the political landscape. We can only take three more white guy Libertarians who live on the South Side Flats who have two kids.

First come first served. I'll submit a list at 20. If you don't want to email me, leave a comment in the blog.

FWIW, this won't be a Rauterkus.com effort. It won't be a specific campaign tool. This is a community forum and all are welcome.

UPDATE: I've got three takers within the first day. We still need more. And, I don't yet need to cast a wide net.

Luke on KDKA-Radio with Marty G

Luke says, "I'm here for the long haul."
Luke, you are really here for as long as the people of Pittsburgh decide if you should be retained or not. The voters may elect you to continue the job. You're here until December, 2007. You are here to serve the will of the people. The voters get to decide what happens next. Not Luke.

Nice interview otherwise, except for Janis' call and questions. Come on! Marty shut down part of the question with silence and then just said, "wow." She clearly had an agenda, said the show host.

Many of the top citizen speakers called: Ora Lee, Ms. E.F. Brown, and a zinger at the end about some guy from Public Works who had issue with some dead wood going out of parkland.

Stay tuned until Friday to get the news about those who are still being paid and are on leave: Dennis Regan and a Police Commander, K.McN.

The $50-million price tag for the casino license only included SLOTS. Table games comes for a 10-fold increase in the cost of doing business here.

The jerks in Harrisburg sold slots parlor licenses for $50-million each. The price was too low. There should have been an auction so that the price of entry would have been much greater.

The taxpayers got ripped off with the sale of the $50-million licenses.

Now, there is no way that we'll get a good deal by extending the license holder's rights to host table games, in addition to slots, without a serious auction and about $500-million.

Ed Rendell is quoted on the radio saying he will not support table games at casinos, just yet.

If we get table games, we better get another pay day, ten times as much as before, from the casino license holders.

Difference between slots and table games: Demographics

The difference is that PA has a bunch of seniors that go to Atlantic City and West Virginia to gamble. We send our tour buses out of state and the state of PA does not get that revenue.

The difference is that PA doesn't have an viable outflow of money being spent on table games that could be retained in-state so as to make a tax-windfall to the PA treasury.

PA was getting taken to the cleaners by other states because a chunk of income went elsewhere to play the slots.

PA is not able to justify the expansion of its pending casinos to include table games because a chunk of income from PA is not going elsewhere.

PA has a lot of seniors. Seniors like to play the slots. PA was sold the slots deal so as to capitalize upon the lost incomes.

PA seniors may stay home to spend some of their money in the PA slots parlors. That's it. Done.

PA's seniors won't go out of state to play table games.

Bill at the end of the session!

Frank Dermody was caught by another caller about how there was an amendment and it was voted on in a matter of hours.

Where is the reform group on this?

Frank Dermody said," I would have said that they should have voted the next day."

The next day is bunk.

People had a chance to make public comment on the bill. But the amendment had no chance to make public comment.

Falling Down Stupid Drunk in a casino (call recap with Marty Griffin's show)

I've never said that the casino's should NOT provide free drinks because the free drinks can lead to falling down, drunk casino customers. Ed Rendell has no clue as to my objections.

Others point out that drinking and free drinks can lead to drunk driving, bankruptcy and other dangers.

People can get drunk on both free drinks and drinks that are purchased.

Frank Dermody said that the casio has to comply with the PA LCB laws. The laws are strict. WRONG!

The Governor just signed a bill that makes an exception to the LCB laws. Casinos don't have to follow LCB laws as they legislature and the governor just change the LCB laws. They'll change them again too.

Double-talking jackass.

Frank Dermody also said that there won't be any local taverns that will go out of business.

WRONG!

We'll see 20 or 30 bars, restaurants and taverns go out of business after the casino opens. There will be some marketplace adjustments. Payrolls will not be able to be met. A job shift will occur and perhaps the small businesses, locally owned business will see a serious decline.

Sure, we have too many bars on the South Side, but that will change after the casino opens. That's why I think it is fruitless to fight with the bar limiting legislation, but that is a point for another rant.

We are going to loose jobs on East Carson Street after the casino comes. We might see a job surge in the net output. But, we'll see places close. Bars open and close all the time. To think otherwise is hype that I'm not buying.

Finally, and this was my first point in the phone call, we should put table games to a voter referendum. Frank Dermody should write the ballot questions.

Mayor and others, (read Onorato) to do pole dance on New Years Eve

So, they are going to drop the ball(s) at midnight on a pole on a stage in downtown at the corner of the Horne's Christmas tree.

It's a new feature for first night.


City will have a ball on New Year's City will have a ball on New Year's
Midnight countdown will culminate with raising of 1,000-pound sphere

E. Hills residents seek to turn closed school into community hub

East Hills residents seek to turn closed school into community hub An East Hills group yesterday sought the city's help in turning a shuttered school building into a community center that would offer sports, education and social programs...

Konota Gaskins, a Democratic committeeman and president of East Hills Community Youth Adult Council, pitched the idea to Neil D. Parham, the city's youth policy manager, in a meeting at the City-County Building. Also present was Arlinder Lang, a former East Hills resident helping Mr. Gaskins.

Mr. Gaskins said he has been trying for three years to establish a community center in what he described as a dying neighborhood. He said the East Hills International Studies Academy building, which the Pittsburgh Public Schools closed in June, would be an ideal site.
Don't hold your breath. We've got a closed indoor ice rink on the South Side that has not been opened for years. There is no hope of doing any expansion in the city because those on Grant Street now are only worried about their own needs (selfish) and they're too busy trying to manage the downward spiral of decline.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Independent Weekly: News: Features: Imagine Dix

Pittsburgh's former mayor, Tom Murphy, working with the Urban Land Institute, showed up in another town, Raleigh, North Carolina, to trumpet pin-headed development on a green field space that goes against the will of the locals who have visions and desires for high quality community spaces.
Independent Weekly: News: Features: Imagine Dix: "And to steal a phrase from former Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy, another member of the ULI team, talking about how Raleigh's approached other big land-use decisions 'for a while here'—'It'll do.'"

Tom Murphy says, "It will do."

Tom Murphy might as well said, "Aim low. Don't miss."

Tom Murphy might as well said, "Talk is cheap, poor citizens. Control of the land can be leveraged into influence with speculators and developers."

The problem is, Tom Murphy's price tag is too low. Way too low.

Furthermore, when the hint of new money comes onto the scene, Tom Murphy can't close the deal without another endless string of compromises that all break in the favor of the the private interest, new money developer and against the public's benefit.

He'll undercut the financial advantages by being cheap on one hand. And on the other hand he'll devalue what could be grand and cheapen the outcome.

Finally, layers of FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt), plus complexity and secret negotiations (smoke) that spin into leases the size of phone books make deals that take generations to unravel.

Dorethea Dix, back in 1848 founded a great institution for some needy people. Those folks then -- and to this time -- are not a high priority for Tom Murphy. No way. Don't be fooled. And, he used to be in the Peace Corps. Go figure how much he's changed.

Healthcare, wellness and service to the mentally ill won't have a snow-ball's chance of making it into his priority list. Blades of grass will have much greater weight, only behind retail and upscale, lower-density housing that's easy to build and sell.

Here comes more trouble.
The heart of the ULI scheme, though, is its development plan, which calls for a Dix Campus Development Corp.—members appointed by the state, the city and NCSU—to develop 1.2 million square feet of office and retail space (including 800,000 square feet for DHHS) and 1,400 single- and multi-family housing units.
A development corporation is an authority. It amounts to overlords without any accountability. It turns citizens into serfs. Its formation puts the mayor, governor and future political leaders into a zone of fruitlessness. The authority will take on a life of its own and never sunset and always strive to grow itself.

First off, demand referendums. Put these big questions to the people to vote. Should the Dix property be sold or retained by the state? -- Yes -- or -- No --.

Second, demand that the property be made available for sale, if it is to be sold, by bids and at auctions. Sell five lots, for example, in year 1, then five more in year 5, and the last five in year 10. Each goes to an open bid or auction.

If you want to make this a private development -- put it into a real private corporation, not some developement company formed for this sake. The private corporations should have stock owners and grow private equity and be a real marketplace player.

Third, don't settle for some appointements to a board for cronies for a development corporation. That doesn't work and should not be part of a democratic, free, open society.

If you have to have a goofy development corporation / authority, then you need to insist that people be elected to those seats. And, they need to be retained in those seats with retention votes. Look into some new-age campaign finance reform election process, perhaps as if you elect school board members or student government at NC State. Insist on five public forums on public TV -- and a limit of $500 in campaign finances -- or else the candidate is knocked off the ballot.

The Urban Land Institute is a cancer to democracy and that's why Tom Murphy fits in so well with those scemes.

The $40-million price tag is a red flag. That amount will decline even lower. The land will sell on the cheap. This is why a bid and auction is necessary.

Pennsylvania rushed to sell casino licenses for $50-million. But, they could have sold for more than $400-million each. But, that bid / auction would have cut out the middle-man politicians eager to cut the deals and gain in power / popularity.

The other red flag is the hype where "IF Raleigh can raise $10 million of that from private contributors, ..." You don't want good foundation money -- from private contributors -- to go into land deals. The $10-million he seeks to grab comes from out of your churches, from out of your libraries, from out of your scholarship funds, from out of your soup kitchens, from out of your angle investors.

Do deals that pull their own weight on their own merits without other layers of subsidizations. Don't allow for other vested interests to muddy the waters nor hi-jack valued funds for other viable community efforts, say the next park over.

2 pm with the LCB to block a South Side bar

A meeting is slated for 2 pm on Thursday, Nov 30, 2006 -- with the LCB (Liquor Control Board).

Gather at 875 Green Tree Road, 2 Parkway Center, Suite G-8.

This is to fight the arrival of a new license on East Carson Street on the South Side. They want to put in a bar in a place that has always been an outlet for 'dry goods.'

Go Ted!

kdka.com - South Side Hit & Run Suspect Surrenders

kdka.com - South Side Hit & Run Suspect Surrenders Police say the driver hit three members of Duquesne University's hockey team

(KDKA) PITTSBURGH Pittsburgh Police say the driver involved in a hit and run accident last week that injured members of the Duquesne University hockey team has surrendered.

Nick Demine, 25, of Monroeville allegedly hit two players and a coach last week on the South Side after a bar fight.
Is it three members of the team or two members of the team and a coach?

Are DU athletes now only allowed out at night with chaparones?

This happened just a couple of blocks from our house. I'm glad it is settled and hate that it happened.

Public Invited to Submit Nominations: PPS Alumni Hall of Fame & CORO People

Hall-of-fame outreach.
The Pittsburgh Public Schools wants nominations for the Alumni Hall of Fame through January 31, 2007.

Nominees must have attended the Pittsburgh Public Schools. Those who nominate successful alumni will be asked to describe briefly how the nominee has distinguished himself or herself, the years of attendance in the Pittsburgh Public Schools, and the individual’s contributions to the community after leaving the District. Nominations will be accepted from School District employees, community members, former students, family members and other alumni.

The winners will be selected by a community-based judging panel and will be recognized at the March, 2007 Legislative Meeting of the Board of Education.
Past winners include:

• Dr. Robbie Ali, Director Center for Healthy Environments and Communities, University of Pittsburgh
• Mr. Louis Astorino, Architect of distinction
• LCpl. Aric J. Barr, U.S. Marine Corps, killed in Fallujah Iraq, April 3, 2004
• Dr. Edward T. Bullister, President of Cambridge Technology Development, Inc.
• Ms. Esther Bush, President and CEO, Pittsburgh Chapter of the Urban League
• Dr. Helen Faison, Retired Acting Superintendent, Pittsburgh Public Schools
• Mr. Thomas Fitzgerald, U.S. Marshal for the Western District of Pennsylvania
• Mr. Sy Holzer, President, PNC Bank
• Mr. William S. Lerach, Partner in Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach LLP
• Mr. Harold Marks, teacher at Knoxville Middle School
• Mr. Richard W. Nicklos, Retired Principal of East Hills International Studies Academy
• Mr. Ralph Papa, CEO, Citizens Bank, Pittsburgh
• Mr. Timothy Smoot, Co- founder of Meridian Management Group, Inc.
• Mr. William Strickland, President and CEO, Manchester Craftsman’s Guild and the Bidwell Center
• Dr. Cyril Wecht, elected Coroner for Allegheny County

For a nomination form, contact the Pittsburgh Public Schools Division of Communications and Marketing at 412-622-3615 or access the District website.



The People Do Matter (PDM) Awards

It's Time to Brag! The region's leading business, education and workforce development organizations are soliciting nominations for the 2007 People Do Matter Awards. Nominations for this regional human resource recognition program will be accepted until January 19, 2007. Download a nomination form at: www.peopledomatter.com.

The People Do Matter initiative recognizes southwestern Pennsylvania employers whose human resource practices best demonstrate the importance of providing workers a positive return on their contributions of time, attention, ideas, knowledge, passion, energy, and social networks to ensure productivity, efficiency, and business results.

The initiative will recognize employers that have adopted creative strategies in three areas:

* People: Strategies to attract and retain a diverse, high caliber workforce. The focus here is on approaches to recruitment, compensation, recognition, or work-life balance.

* Learning and Development: Strategies to enhance knowledge creation and knowledge transfer. The focus here is on approaches to link learning with business strategy, measure and value the firm's investments in learning, leverage intellectual capital, or implement new approaches to training and learning.

* Work Structures and Processes: Strategies to facilitate change, improve productivity, and create value in the marketplace. The focus here is on approaches to communicate vision and strategy throughout the organization, align processes and systems with business strategy, adapt to technological change, of harness high involvement to drive change.

Descriptions of previous winners and finalists are available at www.peopledomatter.com. (View the 2006 program book.)

Pop City - What to Do with Kids over the Holidays

Pop City's Anne: You should have your kids on a swim team.
Pop City - What to Do with Kids over the Holidays My kids are bouncing off the ceiling. Each day, they seem wound a little tighter and the list of things they need gets longer. I’m beginning to dread the holiday break—and the season has only just begun.
Or, if you don't have them on a swim team -- or other sporting activity -- then you have have them sit around on the computer and look at this slideshow of kids on our team who are NOT bouncing off the walls.

Cupcakes

These kids don't eat cupcakes!

Bloggers elsewhere are fussing over a cutting edge economic theory that makes cupcakes the center of the world. My next serving of crumbs to that discussion includes these photos from are travels to China.

In China, people don't generally have ovens. So, all of their baked goods come from stores and bakery merchants. Hence, there are a number of them in the citys. People don't generally eat many baked goods as a habit, but, they can't pop a pan of brownies into their ovens as we do in America -- because the typical home only has a stove and is without an oven.


Cakes and cupcakes in Chengdu.

Bakery in Hong Kong


Mr. Squid wears a baker's hat! Squid cupcakes, anyone? I don't know the translation. The photo shows the roof of a fast food stand in Ocean Park.

We visited with one family who did have an oven. They had to have it moved from one city to another when the dad took a different teaching job at a different International School. He is an American. She is Chinees. Check out the video just uploaded to Rauterkus.blip.tv from their living room that shows the three sisters singing a traditional Chinees song for us and playing their violins. They are very talented. They live in Chengdu.

THE RECORD.COM | Penguins could be moved, Bettman warns

Canadian press reports:
THERECORD.COM | INSIDER | Penguins could be moved, Bettman warns Team's future in Pittsburgh uncertain if casino plan nixed, NHL commish says
The last minute charge to lock up an Isle of Capri victory for the stand alone slots license is being waged from Canada.

Just yesterday I was ranting about the International Olympic Committee and urging them to side with the Canadian women who want to get medals in Vancouver in 2010 in ski jumping. Now today, we need to break the peace and harmony with this ploy to pit them against us for a team that's mascot is only found in the other hemisphere.

Did you know that there are no Penguins, other than Tux, that reside in the North. Tux is everywhere. So, moving the Penguins to Canada would be taking them farther from their natural homelands. So there.

Perhaps, if the Penguins move, we can save the Civic Arena and turn it into an indoor ski jumping venue. Then the outdoor course can be built off of Mt. Washington with its landing zone near the foot of the casino in Station Square.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Tune into KDKA TV News about PAT's public meeting on its Scorecard

KDKA TV news interviewed me today while I was a participant at the public meeting hosted by PAT (Port Authority Transit) concerning its SCORECARD.

I've got a lot to say about the concepts. But, I'm out of time.

If anyone catches the segment, let me know what was aired.

Two Cows - Free Talk Live - Humor with labels.

Two Cows - Free Talk Live OLYMPICS-ISM
You have two cows, one American, one Chinese. With the help of trilling violins and state of the art montage photography, John Tesh narrates the moving tale of how the American cow overcame the agony of growing up in a suburb with (gasp) divorced parents, then mentions in passing that the Chinese cow was beaten every day by a tyrannical farmer and watched its parents butchered before its eyes. The American cow wins the competition, severely spraining an udder in a gritty performance, and gets a multi-million dollar contract to endorse Wheaties. The Chinese cow is led out of the arena and shot by Chinese government officials, though no one ever hears about it. McDonald's buys the meat and serves it hot and fast at its Beijing restaurant.

Lane 9 News Archive: 2006 Open Water Swimmers of the Year: Larisa Ilchenko and Thomas Lurz

Lane 9 News Archive: 2006 Open Water Swimmers of the Year: Larisa Ilchenko and Thomas Lurz 2006 Open Water Swimmers of the Year: Larisa Ilchenko and Thomas Lurz
We did a lot of open water swimming this summer. Some of the photos and videos are online at http://Rauterkus.blip.tv.

To Gov Rendell: Veto the Free Drink Policy for Casinos

A bill is before Governor Rendell that gives the casinos the option of providing free drinks to its patrons.

I think it would be better for Pennsylvania if the bill was vetoed. It should not come about. I would not have voted for the bill if I was in either the PA Senate or PA House.

The gambling casinos are coming. They need to act like the other establishments in our communities. It is not legal to use booze as an incentive for any operation. I would not want it to be legal for casinos.

The competitive forces that are at play in this bill is beteen the casinos and the rest of the community. Not the casino in West Virginia (and there are no free drinks in W.Va casinos) or Las Vegas and those in Pennsylvania.

This is a bill about the LCB (liquor) and not a rider on the gambling legislation.

The bill is bad on principle. It is bad for small business. And, the bill is bad in terms of governmental operations. The legtislative process for this bill is suspect, to say the least.

The members of the PA House and PA Senate, and executive branch, have been drunk on gambling money for some time. The PAC money from gambling has flowed into their slush funds for years while the gambling bills were drafted. Now, these folks in Harrisburg want to get drunk again, but this time on the stipulation of free drinks within the casinos.

There was "little or no public comment" on the bill before it was approved by the House and Senate. The bill has become the latest in the long list of last-minute legislation that hurts the commonwealth. It was added as an amendment to a bill making changes in the state liquor code and didn't receive three separate days of hearings in the House and Senate. This is required by the state constitution.

People on the South Side are worried about the traffic patterns with the new casino that could open in Station Square. We might wish for bumper-to-bumper traffic throughout our streets if all the patrons depart with a drunken state due to the free drinks. At least they'll be going so slow we'll be able to dodge some of them. Or, arrest them.

Why give free liquor between the hours of 7 am and 2 am? If I was able to, I'd say that the free drinks can happen from 2 am to 10 am. Then there would be some peace in the neighborhoods. And by 10 am, we'll be able to have all the police picking up the drunks as they exit the parking lots.

As it stands now, the drunks are hitting the streets when there isn't any mass transit. And, it is impossible to hail a cab.

The Libertarian in me said that free drinks should not be restricted. Rather, allow for any business to offer free drinks anytime. Why should some have to curb all free drinks while others get the right?

But, if you give away free drinks, you can't tax them.

The huge amounts of money that has flowed to the Mohegan Sun in its early days of operation proves that there is no need for 'free drinks' to make these places a success.

Rendell has until Saturday to decide whether to veto the bill.

Carlynton Swim Club Calendar



A public calendar for the Carlynton Swim Club is available. Those on the team might want to subscribe, by clicking the button.

Speaking of women in high places. How about ski jumping.

Events for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouber are being set and in the hunt is:

Skicross.

Skicross runs on the circuit now and features a downhill race among a handful of athletes over bumps and without lanes. Snowboarders did it last time. Think short track speed skating but on a mountain.

Women's ski jumping.

Individual curling.

Team luge.

My favorite is the involuntary luge. Picture someone giving NBC's Today weather personality, Al Roker, a huge push and unwilling sendoff while at the top of the bobsled run. We'll have to turn to YouTube for that sport I fear.


Women don't do ski jumping in the Olympics now. Nor do they do the 1500 meter event in swimming, sadly. It is only fair that they have a medal opportunity too. The first world championships for women in ski jumping isn't slated until 2009. So, this might be your opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a new sport and hit the big time.

Pittsburgh, give its Mt. Washington landscape, and the backdrop of the city, could be a wonderful venue for the 2007 women's ski jump state championships. I have never understood why we don't have soap box derby events down Mt. Washington too. We did have a great professional bike race, but that went poof!

I'd like to put my voice along with that of the Canada's women ski jumpers asking the Vancouver organizers to "embrace this opportunity to remove the final barrier to equal participation by women at the Vancouver Olympics."

If you have not heard, Philly is NOT in the hunt for hosting a future summer olympics. They pulled the plug on that effort some time ago. But in the UK, the British government announced that costs for the main Olympic complex for 2012 had gone up by $1.7 billion to $6.25 billion, mainly due to higher steel prices and security concerns. Some suggest the total cost could reach more than $15.1 billion.

London organizers and the IOC insist, however, that many of the costs are not directly related to the Olympics, and are meant for the long-term regeneration of the rundown east London site where the main Olympic park is being built. The actual games operating budget is around $3.87 billion, and the IOC says it is satisfied with the pace of preparations.

Perhaps we should push for McKeesport and the Mon Valley as a host for a future Olympic Games. And, we'd have the steel prices under control as we could fire up a historical steel mill. That would make good sense for a heritage project. And, perhaps we'd then be off the hook and have volunteers run the operation, like they do now with the model train displays. That could by-pass any prevaling wage and union issues.

The I.O.C. may or may not provide news still pending from Italy's Olympics. Still in limbo, like the ones in Guantanamo Bay, is the alleged doping substances, equipment at the lodgings, and the Austrian cross-country and biathlon teams from the Turin Games. An update from them might come concerning the continuing investigation. Perhaps Dr. Cyrl Wecht should hop a flight and get to the bottom of this, along with Sheriff DeFazio, of course. Preliminary findings from Italian authorities have been furnished (pun), but not enough exists to take any action so far.

Tell the travel agent, the meeting is in Kuwait.

Monday, November 27, 2006

He is Pgh and so is she.

IamPgh This is a post to an open call to Pittsburghers that want to be a part of IamPgh.

Here is what you need to do:

* Send an email to donorkoskey AT gmail DOT com

* Include the following:

* Name
* return email address
* Neighborhood
* Job/ Degree
* Age Group
* A short paragraph about yourself

I will write you back and ask a series of questions. Answer the questions as honestly.
All is well except the part about honesty. Honesty hurts. It is what we need. But honesty isn't what people really want.

Perhaps the bios can become a good source for points from the who category at the Platform.For-Pgh.org/wiki/.

Big Media Interlocks with Corporate America

Big Media Interlocks with Corporate America Big Media Interlocks with Corporate America by Peter Phillips
MSM = Mainstream Media. Humm... What interlocks do we have to deal with in Pittsburgh?

That would make an interesting map and network.

City Council back to nine. Now 6 + 3. Welcome D. Harris.

Darlene Harris, new to city council said that public safety includes building inspection. "There are a lot of buildings that need torn down."

To be or not to be!

That was the quote from KQV Radio. Proudly, my son, 11, heard the news report with her voice while we were driving home from swim practice and said, "buildings need to be torn down."

We have three on council who are women, now. The report said that Pittsburgh's council makes history with three being women. Wow. We are cutting edge now. Western PA really needs more women in elected office.

However, one of the next news stories reported on a Pitt Law Professor who just filed a friend of the court brief about a women who was attempting to keep a judgement about gender discrimination and a wage dispute. She had been under paid on the job next to all the others -- all men. But, the appeal seems to have set a 180 day period for the need to file a complaint. If that fails to be overturned, the rights to equal pay are going to be set back decades.

Last week, Pitt's University Times, a faculty and staff newspaper, had a story about equal pay among university professors throughout the major research institutions. That story gets my attention, given that we live off my wife's salary. Women are not making much progress in terms of their take home pay, so said the article.
University Times Gender Inequity: AAUP report faults higher ed.
Darlene's tenure on City Council might be brief. She is due to face the voters again in a few months. Her seat comes due in the spring, 2007, primary and again in the 2007 general election. Same too with Jeff Koch of District 3.

Darlene's honeymoon has just begun. The clock has started to tick. I figure she'll have some time to coast with decent voter approval to her benefit as the months turn into the spring primary. However, if Darlene talks like a 'yinzer', and if Darlene talks with paper-thin depth of issues, and if Darlene stays without a web site -- alarms will come quickly.

We do have issues with the city and public safety. However, we have bigger issues for city council's attention. City council means little because we have two overlords, the I.C.A. and Act 47 team. Our democracy has expired.

Some want to cut city council from 9 to 5. Others say cut it from 9 to 7. I say, cut it by 50-percent in terms of pay checks for as long as we've got overlords here in Pittsburgh doing the jobs of all of its elected officials.

The people on city council should not be making their full pay checks because they have been replaced. The overlords are doing the jobs once done by those on city council, by the mayor and by the city's controller.

For the past few years, the citizens have been paying city council for doing little. And, we have to pay for the ICA and Act 47 stewards. We are paying triple!

Futhermore, there is no incentive to get back to normal conditions. I want my democracy to work -- if not flourish. But, we shouldn't be rewarding their failures. If we gave city council a 50-percent pay cut, and in turn, cut the pay for all the overlords too, then put the money into escrow until AFTER the city is solvent again -- then we'll have some leverage and might get somewhere.

Getting out of this financial mess is going to take some effort. I agree they should be paid. But, let's pay them after the work is done. Let's hold the bulk of the pay until they've proven that the city is back on its feet financially.

One should never pay a contractor in full as the work is being done?

You pay a good faith amount. You cover the costs and supplies. But, you hold the bulk of the money until after the work is done.

Furthermore, once we come out of our financial funk, I'd suggest that we hold another 50% (that's 50% of the 50%) for three additional years as a guarantee that the city won't slide back into distressed status again.

We don't have any built-in incentives. Nor do we have any guarantees. Both of those problems can be fixed with this solution.

Cut the pay of all elected city officials by 50-percent. Hold the pay cut in escrow. Pay out half of the amount from escrow after the departure of the overlords (both Act 47 team and ICA czars). Pay the final portion from escrow to the credited city officials, or their heirs, three years after the departure of the overlords if the city is still on solid financial footing.

Likewise, cut the pay of the overlords and have them sare the same deals as that of the city council, mayor and city controller.

Pitt Football: Turn down any bowl invite. Hold spring game at Cupples Stadium on the South Side

The University of Pittsburgh football team has lost its last five games of the year. They should NOT get a bowl bid. And, if they do get a bid, they should NOT accept.

Pitt's seniors might like another road trip. However, they should be packing their bags for the senior all-star games. Palko will suit up in one of the games. Great for him. Good for the others as well.

Pitt's payday for a bowl game that would have the team is not going to be serious money.

Pitt will get a good pay check due to the BCS Bowls because of the Big East's revenue splits. Louisville, Rutgers, and WVU can soak up the cash and give a share to Pitt, this year. Perhaps Cinci goes to a bowl game too.

Let Cinci play Ohio U. in Detroit on Dec 26.

Let Cinci play Western Michigan in Toronto on Jan 6.

Pitt should stay home, train (as indididuals or in small groups), lift (of course), recruit, study, heal and plan for its spring game.

Pitt should hold its spring football game on the South Side. It could be hosted at South Vo Tech, also known as George K. Cupples Stadium. It would be nice to know of Cupples as a place where Pitt plays, besides the Pittsburgh Passion.

The spring football weekend could bring a giant all-sports parade down East Carson Street. The players, band, coaches and students should all be a part of the activities. Each department could host its own social at various watering holes. Sidewalk sales, alumni outreach, and plenty of networking could fill the days and nights. And, the blue vs. gold game could be hosted to a sell out crowd.

This can be the South Side Spring Sports Street & Stadium Spectacular.

Bring on all the sports teams, not just football. The basketball teams can hold a clinic. The softball and baseball alumni can play on the neighborhood field. The track team can hold a specialized meet -- perhaps with D.U. -- in the stadium, 1 hour before kickoff.

In City Theater, we'll hold a special concert and pepper it with messages to the audience about how to park cars in the South Side.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Is it time to rein in current gargantuan deficit spending habits?

Perspective:
The Three Rivers Post & Standard � Bond Rating Up for Pittsburgh… But other Shoes Will Drop ... Government accounting makes Enron accounting seem like an addition mistake on a Girl Scout’s cookie order form...

Main Page - PittsburghPlatform

Main Page - PittsburghPlatform The home page of my wiki site, Platform.For-Pgh.org, has been accessed 199,906 times since the last time the counter has been reset. The magic 200K number is about to come. The site has swelled to 1,685 pages. Meanwhile, my Ford Tarus station wagon is about to flip beyond 100,000 miles.

Safe travels to everyone, regardless of your odometer's setting and altitude.

Smurphy claims Steelers' save - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

I blogged about this early in the week.
Smurphy claims Steelers' save - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review FORMER MAYOR'S CLAIM. Talk about your revisionist history.

Former Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy essentially and inaccurately claimed last week that his efforts to build Heinz Field kept the Steelers from leaving town.
But, you still don't see anything from this blog in the best of the blog area of the Trib. Such is life in this region.

There aren't words to describe this tragedy.

SI.com - Spanish cycling champ dies after bike crash - Sunday November 26, 2006 World track cycling champion Isaac Galvez of Spain, a runner-up in a Tour de France stage last summer, died after crashing during a six-day track race in Ghent. He was 31.

Galvez died Saturday night after crashing against the railing during the next-to-last day of the Madison competition, event organizer Rob Discart said. Galvez, who raced for the Caisse d'Epargne team, was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

kdka.com - Allegheny County Council Loosens Smoking Ban

kdka.com - Allegheny County Council Loosens Smoking Ban (AP) PITTSBURGH Allegheny County Council has loosened its new workplace smoking ban even more.

The ban, which takes effect January second, bans smoking in any work place or public building and was passed to protect the health of people who are forced to work in those buildings.

But the amendment approved yesterday will let people smoke within five feet of a building's entrance, instead of the original 15-foot buffer zone in ordinance.

The smaller zone is meant to make it easier for patrons and employees to step outside for a quick smoke.

But opponents, including the five County Council members who voted against the amendment yesterday, say it will expose some employees -- like doormen and security guards -- to even more smoke than they faced before.

Libertarian Party Gives Thanks

The Libertarian Party wishes Pennsylvanians a happy Thanksgiving, and gives thanks this holiday for:

* Iraq holding free elections with multiple candidates. Perhaps this will serve as an example for bureaucrats who believe Pennsylvanians cannot handle more than two candidates in any statewide race;

* Continued cooperation among independents and third parties regarding reform of Pennsylvania’s unreasonable ballot access laws;

* The Clean Sweep movement for sweeping big government incumbents from office;

* Ed Rendell opposing tax increases for a few months. He waited until the polls closed before he announced his plan to raise taxes;

* Our Founding Fathers, who created a constitutional republic (not a democracy) that established laws to protect our rights to life and property.

The Libertarian Party is the third largest political party in the United States with more than 600 officials serving in office throughout the nation. Visit www.LP.org or for more information on the Libertarian Party.

Rendell -- we deserve it! Westinghouse to build NUKES for China while Gateway NUKES teachers.

Gov. Rendell says Westinghouse should come to Western Pennsylvania with additional jobs because "We deserve it."

Wrong!

Mary Griffin, on KDKA-radio, just called me a 'naysayer.' Well, he is part right.

Understand that China is going about to build 400 Nukes -- for electrical power (i.e., Three Mile Island) in the next ten years. That is a given. They approved the goal. It is going to happen.

On the table now for Westinghouse is how to supply a share of those plants. They've got the nod to build four, as tests. If these go well, they'll build 100 more, if not 300 more.

A number of suppliers are going to build Nukes in China, and Westinghouse is in the mix. It makes good sense for China to diversify and keep the plants from various builders with various technology applications so as to be competitive.

The business decision made by Westinghouse executives won't put any weight on those attitudes that the Governor talked of -- "We deserve it." And, those attitudes from the top politician in PA say plenty as to where and where not to locate a big business venture.

A tax abatement from the Gateway School District is not going to be the factor to make a "go" or "no-go" decision for Westinghouse in this deal. If those jobs come, they'll come here because of the overall landscape of the business climate for Westinghouse and its hope of doing well in the building of those nukes for its new, best customer, China.

Some hyper charged Keystone Opportunity Zone -- or Enterprise Kiss Butt Tax Give-Back -- is NOT going to factor into this global policy. It amounts to a pimple in the scope of the marketplace forces and the deals that they'll be hatching. A pimple.

But, to Gateway Schools -- it might mean 30 teachers. It will be serious. And, the take-a-way comes from the kids that are with us today. And, the take-a-way comes with a serious cost to our freedom.

If you want to talk about what matters and what doesn't -- let's talk about building NUKES here in the USA. Westinghouse has to go to China to revitalize its NUKE Building Operations because there are no customers here in the USA.

Let's talk about about energy! I like to turn on the lights and have them work. I love to have heat in our home. I'd love to drive an electric bike around town.

China is increasing its competitive outlook for its people and its companies. It is building -- and we're trying to make give-a-ways to benefit some mega corporate deal at the local level. Yet what we build for them is not welcomed here!

Senator Logan talked about building Nukes for Japan. Duhh....

The Governor said that the ones who speak up against these 'corporate welfare' deals might be right when it comes to a philosophical confab. But, then Rendell said, "this is the real world." He needs to get these jobs from Westinghouse to land here in Western Pa and not North Carolina or Tennessee. The other regions are giving incentives too. In the real world you have to give up something. You have to make an investment.

Well, the real world value of these tax breaks amounts to nothing except a loss of liberty.

The wheeling and dealing that the Governor and those like Jane Orie and Sean Logan are huffing and puffing about with Westinghouse is a power and influence charade. They want to be the one's who are bringing in new jobs. They want to make noise -- then take the credit. They want to say they were instrumental in landing those jobs.

Don't be fooled.

If Marty's Army sends thousands of letters to Westinghouse executives saying -- "stay here", fine. A letter writing campaign will create a lot of noise. The signal should not be, "because we deserve it." Nor should it be, "because Ed Rendell is a nice guy."

Rendell said in the interview on the radio that he is NOT permitted to talk about the specifics of the deal, as ordered by Westinghouse, until a decision is made. So, we've got behind closed doors deals being hatched. And the Governor is proud of this.

Westinghouse has the upper hand and is able to silence the Governor. And, the Governor is happy about his loss of freedom to talk to the public.

I don't want a governor that is able to be silence by corporate interests.

It is China where there are mega problems of humanity because people there are not free to speak without the state's blessing.

It is in China where web surfing at Google gives one set of results that have been filtered to meet the wills of the authorities -- not here.

Now China is going to crack into our landscape by being a big customer for a big corporation -- and in turn our state's top politician is going to act like the Communist Party acts in China.

In the next posting, we should examine what they do in China at its Casinos in regard to free drinks. West Virginia doesn't offer free drinks to those that play the slots. But, in Macao, China, at the Playboy Casino, you get more than drinks if you book a party for more than a dozen customers. Sigh.

My game plan is different. My priorities are not like that of the big-government Dems and Reps. And, this isn't a D vs. R thing. Here, the Ds and Rs are both to blame and are equally guilty. Governor Ridge created the Keystone Opportunity Zones.

The Governor should put together a task force. The task force could be chaired by the Governor himself. He can be the point person on this. It is a big deal, understood. But, don't make any give-a-ways. Westinghouse needs to get what it needs -- and it must pay for what it needs and gets.

I'd insist that Westinghouse pull its own weight, from day one. I'd insist that we be open, transparent, eager partners, flexible, and creative. Be straight with all parties. But, I'd not sell out for hype, nor for the sake of our freedoms. I want state, regional, county, schools and municipal cooperation along with that of the wonks and the lockstep boosters such as the chamber of commerce.

Cooperation does not mean taking from one and giving to another.

We are going to thrive in Pennsylvania, if we are free. That's the hinge.

We've taken the low road. We've lost our freedoms. We've got a frail democracy. We've put so many bobbles on the getting of new jobs that we take from elsewhere and speed up the decline.

The turn around that we seek isn't going to come with 3,000 new jobs that are wrapped with corporate welfare dealings.

Self reliance matters. That's how we need to thrive. We can't take the 'we deserve it' pledge to the global marketplace and expect to get anything other than squat.

Township officials back recreation center proposal

Township officials back recreation center proposal multi-municipality community recreational center.
This is music to my ears. Cooperation. Playing well together. Teamwork.

They are making steps that make sense. They are closer to the formation of a park district.

Hill District activist faces lawsuit - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Speak up. Then speak with the lawyers. Whistleblowers beware.
Hill District activist faces lawsuit - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Hill District activist faces lawsuit
Why not change the name of the campaign from "Raise Your Hand! No Casino on the Hill" to, "Raise Your Finger!" You fill in the rest.

Those with juice and power really don't like it when citizens do reseach and connect the dots.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Frick Middle School Swim Team -- schedule

I posted a Google Calendar for the Frick Middle School Swim Team schedule. It is unofficial. Google Calendar is a nice utility.

I won't put these dates in the Google Calendar.

OFFICE OF STUDENT SERVICES FINANCIAL AID NIGHT

SCHOOLS DATE TIME PLACE

ALLDERDICE December 11, 2006 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Library
ALLDERDICE January 10, 2007 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Library
BRASHEAR December 4, 2006 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Library
CAPA January 16, 2007 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Library
CARRICK January 11, 2007 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Library
LANGLEY December 12, 2006 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Library
OLIVER January 9, 2007 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Library
PEABODY January 8, 2007 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Library
PERRY January 24, 2007 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Library
SCHENLEY December 18, 2006 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Library
WESTINGHOUSE January 11, 2007 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Library

MercuryNews.com | 11/21/2006 | A final incarnation for Pacific Commons?

OMG2. The Steelers almost left town. Say it isn't so, doubting Tom. My impressions of you have not change a bit.
MercuryNews.com | 11/21/2006 | A final incarnation for Pacific Commons? Another example is Pittsburgh. Tom Murphy, a senior fellow with the Urban Land Institute, was mayor of Pittsburgh overseeing the development of a stadium. Failure would have meant losing the Steelers. The odds were long that the team would stay in town and even longer that a new stadium could be built, but the city got it done.

``The referendum to pay for the development was defeated by 70 percent. But we decided we're going to do it anyway, because the Steelers were important to Pittsburgh in terms of our psyche and in terms of who we were,'' Murphy said. ``We were a Rust Belt, declining city and we were losing our Steelers.''

Murphy said $262 million was raised from the team, the state and hotel and sales taxes to build a baseball park, a football stadium and a convention center. The former mayor believes the development succeeded because it was incorporated into the city, rather than standing apart.

``We built the stadium into the community and the city -- it's not sitting there as an icon surrounded by 25 acres of property,'' he said.
Well, where to begin.

The stadium known as Heinz Field was built into a community -- yet today it still needs light rail under the river to succeed. ???

The stadium is not surrounded by 25 acres of property -- as I guess it is an island surrounded by water????

The stadium's surrounding property includes a Parking Authority garage that isn't being used. And, if the garage was used, it would finally empty each Sunday around halftime of the Monday Night Football game.

Don't those VIP tents look great next to the stadium on the surface parking lots, built into the community. The deadlines for the re-development of the land have long passed. What's up with that? Do the Steelers still have the rights to the land too?

If you really want to see a stadium that was built into the community then you needed to look no further than what was once Pitt's grand dame -- Pitt Stadium. That was built into the community. That was were hospital patients could take a wheel-chair walk and catch a bit of the game. That was where players could walk to work. That was where injured athletes could go from dorm room to whirlpool or visit with the rehab folks -- without getting onto a bus and crossing the river.

Pitt Stadium was where you could go after an alumni reception with professors, on campus. Go to Pitt Stadium and watch a game with the family after a visit that injects a sense of academic pride of the research, knowledge and student-life a campus setting should engage. That's community.

Good luck Freemont. Take the advice of Tom Murphy and cronies like him for what they are worth. Zippo.

Pedestrian Planning Meeting slated for 2 pm on Saturday, Dec. 9, at Pitt's School of Public Health Auditorium.

Hill clergy lead effort to rebuff slots casino in Hill

OMG. That's short for either Oh my gosh. Or, in this case, might as well say, Oh My God!
Hill clergy lead effort to rebuff slots casino in Hill 'We don't want it in Pittsburgh, period. If it must come, let it go to the North Side or Station Square. We don't want it near our residential district,' he said.
Bless their souls too.

The ministers are now backing the plan for the casino placement at either the North Shore or at Station Square. That makes sense.

They are right in saying that few people live near the Station Square and the North Shore site. Those locations are already entertainment destinations. They are not residential areas.

But what kills the story is the fact that they hit upon Toyna Payne of Pittsburgh's City Council but gave a free pass to Gov. Ed Rendell. It was Rendell that was the one who put gambling into our local landscape. It was the state reps who passed the bills to allow it to arrive.

If the ministers had been against Ed Rendell in the past season, I'd have more understanding of their actions now.

The ministers are saying good things -- but it is too little and too late.

Russ Diamond was a candidate for Governor and he wanted to get rid of the gambling law. He wanted to nuke the entire bill.

Rev. Tom Smith of Monumental Baptist Church said, in the article, "This is our first action to ensure that the spiritual and economic well-being of this community is not compromised." The first action should not come a month before the final decision is announced. The news is expected December 20, 2006.

Folks, it is good to speak up. It is always good to speak up. When you speak up late -- fine. Do it. But, we really need more people to speak up sooner.

Frankly, the Isle of Capri plan should not be considered because of the silence treatment the public has been subject too from the Penguins. The "Lockstep Boosterism" and "contract agreements" of non-statements between the NHL's Penguins and the Isle of Capri effort to secure a gambling casino sucks.

The closed-mindedness stinks. It is only matched by the other killer action of hatching deals behind closed doors.

If the Penguins and Isle of Capri want to get into bed with each other -- fine. They can hop in bed with each other on their own time, and with their own dime too. Don't expect to win a public license for an exclusive gambling license from under the covers. Don't wager a secrecy campaign in our public spaces where we have the calling to be concerned as citizens, neighbors and taxpayers.

The pathway that the Penguins, as an organization, has taken is sad. I had hoped that the new ownership group would have been more bold and open-source in their ways. This amounts to a communications deal. And, the Blackberry's screen has gone blank.

The Penguins have fumbled an opportunity to connect with the city and region. But, fumbles don't really happen in hockey as the puck sits on the ice.

The Penguin ploy was to rush the ice with wave after wave of public officials to speak in support of the new arena. They had line changes down pat in the first period. They went to an early lead, sure. But once the counter-attacks came, the only defense was to field multiple goalies.

The entire process is built upon some false hopes. The new arena isn't the top priority. Oh well.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Retired sheriff to plead guilty to macing

The backlashes around Pittsburgh are real. The culture of corruption and insider tricks could use a big kick in the pants.
Retired sheriff to plead guilty to macing Recently retired Sheriff Pete DeFazio is expected to plead guilty to one misdemeanor count in federal court tomorrow -- the culmination of a more than five-year investigation into corruption in the Allegheny County Sheriff's Office.

Mr. DeFazio, who retired at the end of October, will plead guilty to macing. That charge is defined as denying a benefit to a government employee for not contributing to a particular candidate or political party.
Time will tell if this is the wake up call that is necessary.

We can dream, can't we?

City teams with Garfield businessman to provide bikes to needy

City teams with Garfield businessman to provide bikes to needy A Pittsburgh police officer walked into a Garfield bike shop two years ago, introduced himself, told the owner about some unclaimed bikes at the nearby East Liberty station and asked if he'd 'tune them up' so they'd be safe to give to needy children at Christmas.

'Sure,' said Jerry Kraynick. 'Let's take a look at them.'
Sure. Everyone should have a bike. But, I really want to say that everyone should have a safe bike ride on a safe bike lane on the roads.

Bikes need to be taken off of the sidewalks. Bikes on the riverfront trails are nice. But we need to bike to work, to shop, to church, to schools, to friends, to life!

Bike lane along a road in China.

Bike lanes look like this in Eurpoe. Big Ben was here!

The Recycle a Cycle program looked like this -- in Pittsburgh!

Thinking again about newspapers

http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200612/hirschorn-newspapers

The Atlantic offers advice from VH1 exec and Inside.com co-founder Michael Hirschorn:
"Not only do you allow your reporters to blog; you make them the hubs of their own social networks, the maestros of their own wikis, the masters of their own many-to-many realms." He suggests the Washington Post create an interactive online universe around Dana Priest's intelligence reporting. "Turn the site into a clearinghouse for global intelligence information, rumors, conspiracy theories, and so forth ... Go even further: incentivize the critics and reporters by allowing them to profit based on the popularity of their sites; make it worth their while to stick around.
And another set of tips:

A 10-point prescription for ailing newspapers

Law to limit South Side Bar expansion faces red-tape until 2007

Councilman Jeff Koch introduced a bar bill concerning the South Side. The bill has been sent to City Planning where they'll do their magic and hold a public hearing. Then a public hearing will happen before City Council. The bill might be voted upon by city council in March, 2007.

The new law would apply to Local Neighborhood Business Districts. So, it won't impact upon places such as Downtown, South Side Works, Station Square nor the North Shore.

So, the bill isn't going anywhere fast.

Seven new bars are in the pipeline with the approval process now. Some of those could open and close again by the spring of 2007. Perhaps an additional 20 will come into being, even it is is only on paper, before the bar bill hits again.

All existing bars would be exempt from the law.

I value the conversation. But, I'm skeptical as to the outcome. My rants and insights will flow later.

Running Mates -- plays well with others -- want to work together

Thumb_default

The only bit in the short video above, click image watch the video, that I have a bit of trouble with is the line that this type of collaboration was not even possible a few years ago. Not true. Before there was a Creative Commons, there was the DSL. And, before the DSL, there was the public domain. I still use the public domain for most of my offerings.

It is generally a bad policy to take credit for being the 'first' one who did anything.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

'Pres. Romney' sounds good to one Pittsburgh blogger

deseretnews.com | 'Pres. Romney' sounds good to many Experience and agendas
The Frenches, along with Charles Mitchell, who works for a nonprofit in Washington, D.C., and Dawn Meling, a business banker in Pittsburgh, started the blog in July, prompted by the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Tennessee in March.
Romney finished second in a straw poll of potential 2008 contenders, behind Tennessee's own Sen. Bill Frist.

Friday, November 17, 2006

R.I.P. Milton Friedman, 1912 - 2006

Info from Wikipedia.

Friedman advocated minimizing the role of government in a free market in order to create political and social freedom.
Friedman also supported various libertarian policies such as decriminalization of drugs and prostitution. In addition, he headed the Reagan administration committee that researched the possibility of a move towards a paid/volunteer armed force, and played a role in the abolition of the draft that took place in the 1970s in the U.S. He would later state that his role in eliminating the draft was his proudest accomplishment.
He said, as do I, don't put me in a box. Labels don't work.

He said that he was a libertarian philosophically, but a member of the U.S. Republican Party for the sake of "expediency" ("I am a libertarian with a small l and a Republican with a capital R. And I am a Republican with a capital R on grounds of expediency, not on principle.") But, he said, "I think the term classical liberal is also equally applicable. I don't really care very much what I'm called. I'm much more interested in having people thinking about the ideas, rather than the person."

Democracy Rising blast and Tim Potts has been on KDKA radio with Marty G

www.democracyrisingpa.com
It costs us about $30,000 a day for per diems (on top of salary and catered meals) when the legislature's in session. Today was not a session day, but the House Education Committee held an informational meeting.

This entitles lawmakers on the committee to collect a per diem for today. But as Capitol reporter Michael Race reported Tuesday in several northeastern PA newspapers, there seem to be few days when lawmakers can't collect per diems.

Race reported that retiring Rep. Gaynor Cawley, D-Scranton, in 2005 "claimed 210 per diems totaling $27,666 – more than the annual salaries of lawmakers in 30 other states that year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures."

There were only 80 actual session days in 2005. Not content with more than $100,000 in income, Cawley also voted for the pay raise.

No one begrudges lawmakers reimbursement for legitimate expenses. But since lawmakers don't have to submit receipts in order to get the money, there's no way to know whether these are legitimate expenses or not. That's why the IRS treats their per diems as additional income on top of their already generous salaries, benefits and other perks.

Wouldn't you like to see an online list of lawmakers and how much they collect in per diems every month? So would we. But there isn't one, and don't hold your breath for it. Read on.

Lame (-Duck) Quote of the Day

On Tuesday, House Speaker John Perzel (R-Phila.) and Majority Leader Sam Smith (R-Jefferson), newly re-elected to their leadership positions, talked about those of us, including reform-minded Republican lawmakers, who want higher standards of integrity in government. Smith said, "Their message was heard. But we don't want reform simply for reform's sake."

Really. How about reform for the citizens' sake? How about reform for the sake of democracy itself? How about reform to elevate Pennsylvania's pathetic standing among the states? We sure do need it.

Pennsylvania is the only state whose legislature has exempted itself from its open records law.

Pennsylvania is the only state whose Supreme Court has exempted itself from its open records law.

According to the Better Government Association, Pennsylvania ranks behind only Alabama and South Dakota in citizen access to public records, making it much harder than necessary to find out how government spends our money and makes the decisions we have to live with and pay for.

Pennsylvania is the only state that doesn't have all of its laws available to citizens free of charge on the Internet.

Pennsylvania has one of the worst lobbying control laws in America. Our new law ignores the 66 percent of citizens who want to prohibit public officials from taking gifts, meals, entertainment and travel from lobbyists, according to the Spring 2005 IssuesPA/Pew Poll.

Pennsylvania has the highest payroll for lawmakers of any state in America.

Pick your motive – to honor the citizens, to honor democracy, to end our national disgrace – but even reform for reform's sake doesn't look like such a bad idea to us.

Report Card arrive and other get to do things.

Pgh Public Schools provides report cards for the students today.

Light Up Night was last night for the South Side, while Pitt hosted WVU. You gotta finish in championship sports. Pitt was ahead at halftime. But scored no more points in the second half while WVU got 21.

Glad we didn't have any extra furnature to torch on the streets.

Tonight is Light Up Night for Downtown. Yawn. But in other downtown news, the families and kids of Phillips Elementary who are able get to go to the Opera in its outreach program. They'll see Romeo and Juliet. The rest of my clan goes while I'll be at swim practice.

Saturday morning our swim team goes to Hopewell for the second dual meet on the winter. Then, Ohio State hosts Michigan on Saturday afternoon. I agree with Mark Madden that the game with #1 and #2 and for the Big 10 title is a much bigger deal than the Steelers vs. Browns on Sunday.

But at 4 pm, I'll be at a violin concert with Pgh Music Academy performers at First Unitarian in Shadyside on Moorwood. Hope we can get the game on the radio.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Ms. Adventures on the Mon: LATE BREAKING NEWS: MARK RAUTERKUS ANNOUNCES CANDIDACY FOR MAYOR; WILL RUN AS MEMBER OF "SAVOIR-FAIRE" PARTY

Ms. Adventures on the Mon: LATE BREAKING NEWS: MARK RAUTERKUS ANNOUNCES CANDIDACY FOR MAYOR; WILL RUN AS MEMBER OF "SAVOIR-FAIRE" PARTY LATE BREAKING NEWS: MARK RAUTERKUS
My name is spelled correctly. The cat is out of the bag.


Ms., Ta!

Transportation Funding for Our Region’s Prosperity

This is slated for Thursday, Nov. 16, 2006. It is SOLD OUT. If you have been watching my Google Calendar, you'd know that already.
A free event is presented by: Allegheny Conference on Community Development, Leadership Pittsburgh Inc., Sustainable Pittsburgh.

Featuring Larry King, Deputy Secretary for Planning, PA Department of Transportation and a local reaction panel, this forum is being held the day after the Governor's Transportation Funding and Reform Commission will release their final report addressing the Commonwealth's transportation funding crisis. On hand to review Commission key findings and recommendations will be PENNDOT Deputy Secretary for Planning, Larry King.

Mr. King will be followed by a local panel that will provide insights and reactions to the high stakes challenge of solving the funding crisis as well as prospects for implementation of recommendations by the General Assembly and Governor. Panelists include:

Stephen Bland, CEO, Port Authority
J. Bracken Burns, Chairman, Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission; Co-Chair Washington County Board of Commissioners
Jim Roddey, Member, Governor's Transportation Funding and Reform Commission
Barbara Simpson, Pittsburgh Interfaith Impact Network

3 Bs at Boyce Park -- Bikes, (skate) Board, and Bladers

A new area at Boyce Park in the eastern part of Allegheny County opens, called 3B. It is a skate park for bikes, boards and (roller) blades.

I hate skate parks. If I was in charge, they would not be built.

Skate parks are danger zones. Skate parks are fertile grounds for orthopedic injury and even if Dr. Freddie Fu paid to have them built, I'd say 'no thanks.'

On the opening day of the roller park in McKinley Park in the city, three kids went to the hospital. One broke his collar bone. Another was treated for a heat stroke. And a third had something to do with a bb-gun (speaking of "bs") shooting from up in the woods down onto the park.

Even as a big shot talked about how everyone here will need to wear a helmet, and it will be 'self-policed' for safety, there were a handful of kids out of the dozens who had no head gear. Go figure.

Rather than skate parks, I'd prefer trampolines.

In Australia, they have free standing trampolines. In Austria, we saw a barge on a riverwalk area that was equipped with a dozen, side by side trampolines.

The kids need activities where there is the hope of 'coaching' and 'teaching.'

Frankly, I don't mind gangs. I just want gangs with activites and leadership that we can trust, control and monitor. To me, being in an orchestra is a lot like being in a gang. But that is a 'good gang.'

PITTSBURGH MAYORAL CANDIDATES LINE UP FOR NEXT YEAR'S RACE in a photo at C's Smoke Ball

The Carbolic Smoke Ball: PITTSBURGH MAYORAL CANDIDATES LINE UP FOR NEXT YEAR'S RACE
No need for photoshop here. I'm in the photo, right in the middle, neither too far to the left nor to the right.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Home invader shot in head in Knoxville

Home invader shot in head in Knoxville A Knoxville man faces drug trafficking charges and weapons violations in connection with the shooting of one of two armed gunman during a drug-related home invasion robbery last night.
How do you read between the lines in this story?

A dad gets arrested for shooting a home invader. The the arrest isn't because of the shooting, rather the weed and the gun.

Perhaps the guy should get a medal for a brave act of self-devense rather than be put in jail and be seperated from his 2-month old baby. But, then again, mom is a 17-year old, with a 2-month old baby.

Perhaps the intruder who was on the floor of the home with a head wound pulled the pot into the house?

Perhaps the guy really isn't in jail -- but that is what the media and police want to tell everyone, including the other intruder who didn't get shot and into critical condition. He might be thinking 'revenge' for his buddy -- but that can't happen if the guy is behind bars.

Sounds like the story has a soap opera of possibilities. Whats the real story? Who has the scoop?

Miss Mallory's Support Page - Whats NEW

Miss Mallory's Support Page - Whats NEW November 8, 2006

Dear Friends,

We wanted to let you all know how much we appreciate your prayers and support; they are truly invaluable. We wanted to update you on Mallory. We were in New York for 2 1/2 weeks receiving the 3F8 antibody treatment. Before each injection she was premedicated with morphine and several other pain meds, for this is an extremely intense and harsh treatment. Each day I wondered how I would be able to watch our child endure another day of this stuff. And at the same time worried and afraid she couldnt tolerate the pain. But I knew we didnt have a choice, this could be the medicine we long awaited to stop her cancer.
The letter goes on.

See the comments for an invite from Mike to play mini-golf for her cause in the weeks to come. It would be fun and worth the support.

Races for controller, 5 City Council seats drawing swarm of hopefuls

Races for controller, 5 City Council seats drawing swarm of hopefuls Mr. Kraus, of the South Side Flats and an interior designer, criticized Mr. Koch for proposing the new station location without getting enough neighborhood input, and for voting to allow developer Soffer Organization to build three 165-foot towers in the South Side Works, despite community group opposition.

Mr. Kraus said his close race last year came despite the O'Connor administration's support of Mr. Koch. 'The political landscape has changed dramatically in the last few months,' he said.
Mr. Bruce Kraus went into the special election endorsement for the democrats last time and expected to win. He got toasted.

On election day, I'm sure Kraus expected to win.

Meanwhile, on election day, I had one wish above all others. I wanted Bruce Kraus to get second. I didn't want Kraus to win. I felt strongly in my heart and in my head that Bruce Kraus would have been the worst choice for our city.

Nine people were in the race and eight of us were pulling against Kraus by the end. If anyone of us has broken with him, instead of against him, he would have won. But, we were all witness to his campaign double-talk and his short falls of merit.

Bruce Kraus a lot to learn and got a lesson in the last race. But, I'm not sure how much of it will be turned into knowledge on his part. He needs to know that you don't run around on election day with gift baskets full of treats to give to those who work the polls -- as in the voting machines.

Kraus needs to know that you don't take an oath of office, if elected, and swear to serve the people of the district. Duhh. It isn't about giving people sheet cakes and ice cream at bingos. Rather, the oath of service is for a dedication to the consititution.

I'll do all I can to make sure we have person on city council who gets it. We don't need another like Tom Murphy running around on Grant Street. The city turned a corner of sorts and got rid of Tom Murphy-ish, power-hungry, logic-lacking, schmoozing-centric, miss-managed, over-spending politicians who dodge and weave when contronted with opposition concerning the depth of the issues and challenges of our time.

At the end of his tenure, everyone saw that Tom Murphy was a divider and not a uniter, to use a trite but true expression. The same mode of operation was seen on many instance in the 2006 campaign by Bruce Kraus. But that was at the outset of the Kraus public life.

Furthermore, I'm not the real rebel in spreading these observations. Dozens of others will do far more to sway public votes against Kraus in 2007.

Sure, the political landscape has changed because of Bob O'Connor's passing. And I'll offer a rant on Mr. Jeff Koch another time.

I'm reminded of a posting on a blog comment somewhere from the spring where one person rated Koch at a 10 on a scale of 1 to 100. I said I agree with the low rating. However, my scale goes from negative 100 to positive 100. That puts Koch in the middle. Bruce Kraus is in the negative 90 range.

Give me a do-nothing public official over a do-damange one any day.

Monday, November 13, 2006

PodCamp Pittsburgh -- humm.....

We purchased MP3 players for Erik and Grant when in China, two years ago.

Pod Camp wasn't really just about iPods and MP3 players. The pod experience is a much bigger world.

I have an iPod, now. But a couple of years ago, when we were in China. We purchased MP3 players for Erik and Grant. We got them there, then, because China is way ahead of where we are in the US in terms of use of these tech tools.

I was 'blown away' by Chengdu's computer row. It was an amazing place where there were shops after shops of high tech gadgets. We must have walked past a thousand places where one can but a MP3 player. Apple's iPods were there too, but not nearly as popular.

Erik and Grant came along with me to Pittsburgh's Pod Camp yesterday. We all had a good time. PodCamp was great. You can go and have a lot to experience even if you don't own a MP3 player or an iPod.

In the photo above, the MP3s are being sold for 339 RMB. That's about $40. We could bargain for lower prices and we got two MP3s, including rechargable batteries. And, the young women who are working the sales counter didn't speak English. But, that was okay. We worked everything out just fine. And, one of the players didn't work properly, so we took it back for an exchage the next day. A challenge, but do-able with our blond hair and good attitudes.
Even the smallest news stands have dozens and dozens of newspapers. Some papers might only be 8 or 16 pages. But, in Pittsburgh, if there is a news stand, it might only sell one paper. How could you get a news stand to sell a dozen different newspapers?

Newspapers and the web and some very bad advice

San Francisco Chronicle has an article that breaks the scoop on scoop seekers: Papers should withhold content from the web for 24 hours
Lawyer and journalist Peter Scheer says newspapers and wire services should agree to embargo their news content from the Internet for a brief period -- maybe, 24 hours -- after it's made available to paying customers. "A temporary embargo, by depriving the Internet of free, trustworthy news in real-time, would, I believe, quickly establish the true value of that information," he says. "Imagine the major web portals -- Yahoo, Google, AOL and MSN -- with nothing to offer in the category of news except out of date articles from 'mainstream' media and blogosphere musings on yesterday's news.
Well, the core suggestion is what it is. But the fact of the matter is that the news blackout for journalist online would make the mainstream media sites three days late in many instances.

Yesterday I talked about the rub with the BOE meeting. Today I can update what went on. I was there. It is fresh -- as in hours. "What the heck does the Election Department have to hide?"

That rub might make it into the newspaper on Tuesday. It was part of a KQV and DUQ report, as well as one TV station today.

Then the story might get onto the web site of a newspaper on WEDNESDAY, that that adice is followed.

That is a story that was breaking on this site last night, Sunday night. His wisdom say the story would sit and then appear online elsewhere two-and-a-half days later. That's silly. That's bad business advice.

The news outlets should do more to address their content's value beyond the days of it running on the web and in the paper. I have serious suggestions as to how that can occur. If anyone, either in the industry or not, wants to call me and set up an appointment, I'll be happy to explain what could be done.

Along the same lines, Pittsburgh City Paper, does just want this guy suggest. The City Paper hits the news boxes around town on WEDNESDAY's. The City Paper's web site gets updated on Thursdays -- if there wasn't too many all-nighters in the early part of the week.

Did Chris Potter give an interview for that article? He can go out on a consulting tour offering insights in how to delay the release of online news. They've been doing it for years. In terms of letters to the editor, the delay is much longer.

BTW, Albert wrote a great LTE last week that I couldn't find on the City Paper site at all. I'll need to look for it again.
Newspapers are posted in public spaces and in parks in Chengdu, China. The reading is free. The cost of a green leaf hat -- priceless.
Another stand for the press. What type of advertising money could be made from these displays?

We won't see how they recovered from the shooting. Go Dukes

The Duquesne University men's basketball squad tips off its season tonight. Fall 2006 was a brutal time for the team and the university given the fact that five of the boys got shot while on campus a couple of months ago.

Tonight's game is not, I expect, a time nor place to judge how they are all doing. A KDKA Radio newscaster said, "We'll see how they have recovered from the shooting tonight."

I'm a bit skeptical to expect that display to be part of the proceedings.

The game and the opening of the competitive season presents a giant milestone, no doubt. Hope they have fun. Hope they win their share. Hope the program 'rebounds' and becomes a source of inspiration for us all.

Go Dukes.

And, how is the women's squad?
Walkons.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Board of Elections Meeting on Monday morning, 10 am

As the vice-chair of the Allegheny County Libertarian Party, I'm going to go to the Allegheny County Board of Elections meeting slated for Monday at 10 am.

An invalidation of our letter seeking a represenatative for the vote tabulation happened. What's up with that?
To the Various Dignitaries of Various Political Parties

Ladies and Gentlemen:

The Allegheny County Board of Elections meets Monday, November 13th, at 10:00 a.m. We members of VoteAllegheny will be presenting various reports (mostly in draft form pending incorporation of further information) to the BoE at that time. (We do not know whether we will be granted time for comment on the agenda.)

It seems to us that as a practical matter it would be efficacious for each political party to have some representation at this meeting, and at the subsequent Board of Elections meeting scheduled for November 27th at 10:00 a.m.

As there may be issues contained in our reports which may concern the various parties, we shall deliver copies to each of you by email. If someone other than or in addition to you should receive a copy, please let me know.

Thank you.

Audrey N. Glickman, Secretary/Treasurer, VoteAllegheny


The Board of Elections meets in conference room A of the County Court House which is on the 1st floor (up one level from ground) next to the county manager's office.

Dave's questions: What should be the game plan then? Anybody have specific questions/issues? Any chance anybody (Rich King?) can get me references to the relevant law(s)? I'd like to have them in my hand. Any specific legal priciples/issues/vocabulary I should be familiar with?


Allow transparency and access into the election process. Transparency has radidly disappeared with the arrival of electronic voting. The administration has denied access, avoided, deferred and delayed communication, erected barriers, misrepresented and played dumb to avoid transparency and access in the process of choosing our system of elections and in the accountable running of our elections.

Department of State Directive (PDF)

What constitutes a "session of board" includes the "logic and accuracy testing"... where no member of the Board of Elections was ever expected to be present prior to the election. The County Solicitor maintained, off the cuff that sessions of board did not include the central tabulation as the DOS directive specifically refers to. Also, they said that the portion of law referred to by the state was not the relevant portion of law.

Bottom line: the judge agreed with the county solicitor. That is what they tend to do. The Board (and the Dept. of State) must get the county to agree to the DOS directive.

Any viable party has the right to have three observers at sessions of the board (including all preparation, testing, tabulation, and computations before, during and after the election.)

Memo from Monday, November 7th, 2006

To: Mr. Mark Wolosik, Manager, Divison of Elections, Allegheny County

Dear Mr. Mark Wolosik:

In accordance with PA State Law Section 25 P.S. 2650 which states:

(a) Any party or political body or body of citizens which now is, or hereafter may be, entitled to have watchers at any registration, primary or election, shall also be entitled to appoint watcher who are qualified electors of the county or attorneys to represent such part or political body or body of citizens at any public session or sessions of the county board of elections, and at any computations and canvassing of returns of any primary or election and recount of ballots or recanvass of voting machines under the provisions of this act. Such watchers or attorneys may exercise the same rights as watchers at registration and polling places, but the number who may be present at any one time may be limited by the county board to not more than three for each party, political body or body of citizens.

As Chair of the Libertarian Party of Allegheny County I duly authorize Richard King and Chad Dougherty to be qualified watchers on our behalf for all election procedures including tabulation of the vote, sessions of the county board. This authorization intends to allow them access to all preparation, testing, and tabulation relevant to the election in Allegheny County on November 7th, 2006, and with specific reference to and including parallel testing. I encourage all parties concerned to review the attached directive of the Department of State regarding Watchers

Sincerely and Respectfully,
Dave Powell, Chair Allegheny County Libertarian Party.

Notes: Reference is made in the DOS Directive: "Regarding the Rights of Watchers, Candidates and Attorneys" link

Long list of Pittsburgh mayoral hopefuls already lining up

Long list of Pittsburgh mayoral hopefuls already lining up the mayor's race is on.
Meanwhile, ... Rauterkus speaks at Pod Camp.

There are a number of people on the P-G's list, a lame-list indeed, that need to be discounted. And, the list itself is but a joke and a way to eliminate viable contenders and set the agenda to sustain the status quo.

The race itself will only topple the region's gravity of 'status quo politics' once the newspapers do something other than run status quo newsmaker's bios.

Eight white men had their photos in the paper. All are men. Not a single woman. All white so as to eliminate all others. minority. All are Democrats -- without the hope of any others from another party.

All have held office except one and the lone exception had his father die while serving as mayor. So the only way to get into the club that the P-G plays gatekeeper for is to have held elected office or have it blessed upon you by your father.

Even Michael Lamb's dad was a State Senator.

This year's budget isn't going to have much 'raw meat' in terms of a window into Ravenstahl's administration and tenure. The budget for 2007 is really Bob O'Connor's work, coupled with that of the overlords.

If I had been mayor, I would have released the budget to city council before I gave it to the overlords. Then we'd have something to 'chew upon.'

The presentation of the budget to council can't be considered raw as it already had some time to simmer with the ICA Board (overlords). The budget isn't raw. To use the food lingo -- the budget goes to council as seconds.

If anyone on council wanted to pitch a fit about the 2007 budget, the opportunity was a month or two ago when the content was 'raw' as it headed to the overlords. That is when the interception and big stink about unhealthy rawness should have happened. And, it would have taken an "insider" to make that case. We only heard about the lack of 20 or so Crossing Guards.

Furthermore, the noise about the Crossing Guards came from Doug Shields who is bucking to run for city controller, not mayor. Bill Peduto was too busy running around to events and schmoozing to raise many objections about the budget.

Seems to me that fixing the city should take a priority.

A modest objection came about the budget process and the steps of mayor to overlords and finally to the public and city council. But those meek reminders run counter to what those on city council already did. Peduto wants the overlords. Peduto voted for the overlords to come to Pittsburgh. Peduto offers bigger government kinda support and he needs to support the status quo on these fronts and not talk of much change. It is what it is -- except when he's in charge.

Peduto should and could have issued a citizens budget or a Peduto budget from a zero- or needs-based perspective. This year's budget is going to be set upon history's legacy. Peduto talked about starting every year's budget with ZERO and working from priorities and a vision -- not a legacy.

Where is that talk been this year?

Photos of Readshaw, Frankel, and Fitzgerald make for good excuses for those guys to raise some PAC money -- and send out a letter to their "supporters." That money can then be leveraged in other races for their existing jobs or to buy influence in other races with other candidates as they see fit. But, they won't be able to raise the cash to run a traditional race for mayor from a traditional power-base.

None of those guys are going to be blogging anytime soon. Those guys can't break the mold -- because -- they are built from the mold.

There is news in the article. Scratch Jim Ferlo and scratch Jack Wagner. I wish I saw direct quotes however. Perhaps the P-G can release the recording of those two conversations or perhaps each can make a press release saying that they are NOT in the hunt for the mayor's race.